Welcome back to Start-Sit here at 5th Down Fantasy! Every fantasy manager wants to know the correct answer to “Who do I start and who do I sit?” We do our best each week to help you make the right choices, here and each Sunday morning on Twitter (follow @5thDownFantasy and tweet your questions to our start/sit thread which starts every Sunday at 12:15 PM EST)!
In addition, we are allowing Twitter users to ask us questions in order for us to answer them inside of this article so please be on the lookout for that in the future.
As for the bulk of this article, each week you will get an outlook of which players have great opportunities and those who don’t, based on 1/2-point PPR. Of course, you need to start your fantasy studs every week, which is why this article will mostly avoid mentioning star players like Davante Adams, Travis Kelce, or Kyler Murray.
If any of your fantasy team’s players are mentioned, make sure to put your team into context before applying the advice; a player we deem worthy to “sit” may be your best shot at winning, so make sure to think through any decisions before they are executed.
In the end you need to play the best lineup that you feel confident in, however you get there.
Start-Sit Week 11 — Quarterback
Start – Ben Roethlisberger (QB, PIT) @JAC
Heating up and looking to be on fire, Big Ben and the Steelers will travel to Jacksonville as -10 favorites in a game featuring an over-under of 47.5. Frankly, the offense seems to be living through the air as James Conner – their bell-cow running back – has put up two straight duds in great rushing matchups. In the same aforementioned games, Roethlisberger has recorded seven touchdowns across 600 passing yards. Luckily these numbers have come from opponents much like the Jaguars which should give you the confidence to start Roethlisberger in Week 11 despite the blowout potential.
The Jaguars are not a good defense overall and against opposing quarterbacks they are surrendering 23.7-FPPG which is the third-most in the NFL. On top of poor defensive play, the Jaguars will also roll out a rookie quarterback who is making his third start in his young NFL career. Any rookie quarterback facing off against the Pittsburgh defense could fall victim to an onslaught of sacks, turnovers, and short fields – all of which can lead to more touchdowns for Big Ben.
In a week with a lot of quarterbacks in questionable matchups or on BYE, Roethlisberger stands above the rest. Start him with confidence and expect a QB1-type finish.
Start – Cam Newton (QB, NE) @HOU
Houston’s defense has yet to stop anyone at home, other than the Jacksonville Jaguars. At home, Houston is allowing an average of 28.25 points per game to opposing teams, which is an unbelievable number to overcome if you are their offense. Against fantasy quarterbacks, they are allowing 19.6-FPPG which is middle of the road and slightly better than it should be given the windy conditions which suppressed Baker Mayfield’s production in Week 10.
With Newton coming in as a -2.5 favorite he will look to continue his recent run of success. In the past two games, the former Heisman winner has four total touchdowns and has at least 10 rushing attempts in each game. Newton is better on the ground for fantasy but given the emergence of Jakobi Meyers, the former MVP has a reliable player he can target which could allow New England to beat Houston through the air as well. While the air attack has begun to emerge, I can see this game being won by running the ball and winning the time of possession in order to keep Houston’s offense on the sideline.
Newton and the Patriots are expected to put up points. Even though this game is on the road for New England, they are favorites and they will be playing in a climate-controlled environment which certainly helps quarterbacks. Start Newton up and expect a top-end QB2 performance, with QB1 upside.
Sit – Ryan Tannehill (QB, TEN) @BAL
Yikes, this one is scary, and playing Tannehill feels like trying to win the power ball. While that may be slight hyperbole, the former Aggie has not looked great of late. For starters, he has not eclipsed 20 fantasy points since Week 6. Despite his struggles, Tannehill’s game logs on the road have not been worth writing home about. While playing on the road this year Tannehill has not reached 20 fantasy points in any game.
Looking at Tennessee’s best opportunity to win, they will likely try and attack Baltimore with running back Derrick Henry. This is likely due to the fact that Baltimore uses frequent blitzes and has been susceptible to the run.
On the Baltimore side, they come in as -6.5 home favorites. These Ravens have smothered quarterbacks so far and have surrendered 18.1-FPPG. Additionally, they have only allowed 178.3 passing yards in their last three games which is down from their season average, 213 yards per game.
You should be off of Tannehill solely for the fact that he has not scored over 20 fantasy points in any contest since Week 6. Do not expect this trend to reverse in Week 11 at Baltimore. Sit Tannehill due to his recent poor play and shoot your shot with someone with higher upside.
Start-Sit Week 11 — Running Back
Start – J.D. McKissic (RB, WAS) vs CIN
You can run and pass on Cincinnati and for McKissic, that will help continue to serve his steady fantasy floor. Of course, I am talking about the whopping 16 targets that McKissic has received over the last two weeks, in addition to his 11 carries. This trend is partly based on Alex Smith being back at the helm. But even with Smith aside, McKissic has become a staple in this passing game. Since Week 4 McKissic has seen at least six targets in every game but one. Aggregating his total targets from Week 4 – 10, he is second on his team in that span – only trailing Terry McLaurin – and his target total is 100-percent more than the next player on his team.
His matchup against Cincinnati is not one I would shy away from. Currently, they allow 18.7-FPPG to the running back position and that is good for 15th best. For the projected game-script, it’s pointing towards a 46.5u with Washington being -1.5 at home.
Keep an eye on this game being a dark horse shootout. Joe Burrow has thrown for 300 yards in multiple games and just last week Alex Smith threw for 390 yards against Detroit. Any pass-heavy situation immediately makes McKissic even more involved.
Being at home and favored is usually what we want from a running back and in Week 11 McKissic should be relied on as a FLEX player that could provide marginal upside. Start him up in any PPR formatted league.
Start – D’Andre Swift (RB, DET) @CAR
UPDATE: Swift Ruled Out With Concussion
Facing off against Carolina, Swift has an opportunity for back-to-back smash weeks. Carolina is allowing 22.1-FPPG to opposing running backs which is the fourth most. Carolina has also allowed the most receptions to the running back position and subsequently, the fifth-most receiving yards.
Swift is seeing an improved snap-share as well, getting 60-percent or more snaps in two of his last three games. He received 73-percent of the snaps in Week 10 when he exploded for 149 total yards and one touchdown.
The rookie gives you a decent floor with his passing game work and his rushing attempts. His efficiency has been there as well and he has recorded a double-digit fantasy finish in five of his last six games.
Coming off his best week yet, Swift could light up fantasy scoreboards again in Week 11. Get him into your lineups and expect another solid outing.
Sit – Todd Gurley (RB, ATL) @NO
Facing off against a division rival in the New Orleans Saints, Todd Gurley will be running up against a wall in Week 11. The Saints have allowed an average of 51 rushing yards over the last three games and 76.8 yards per game for the season.
Just last week they halted Jerick McKinnon to practically nothing. Admittedly that, in and of itself, is not what is impressive but rather the Saints’ ability to hold him to 1.8 yards per carry across 18 attempts and no touchdowns.
Analyzing Gurley’s trends doesn’t cause any cognitive dissonance either. The former Fantasy MVP has averaged 2.77 yards per carry across his previous four games, which sounds as scary as you might think. His game log brings forth a lot of evidence that he is extremely touchdown-dependent and that is not a stat you should be counting on as the Manager, especially against the Saints. New Orleans is second best in the league at stuffing run attempts inside the 5-yard line, only allowing a touchdown on 27-percent of those carries according to PFF.
Gurley comes into Sunday as a +4.5 underdog and even if the Falcons can win this game – which is possible since Drew Brees is out – the former Georgia Bulldog will likely not be a factor.
Start-Sit Week 11 — Wide Receiver
Start – Michael Thomas (WR, NO) vs ATL
After two shaky performances coming off of injury, Thomas should be a focal point in the Saints’ offense in Week 11. Thomas wasn’t really needed by Drew Brees in his previous dud games, but facing a division rival without Brees, Thomas will be called upon to pick up some of the load.
Sure Jameis Winston being behind center can be a little shaky, but you should not care who the quarterback is in this scenario. If anything Winston has a tendency to hyper-target certain players which only improves Thomas’s usage. An increase of usage would really help propel Thomas’s bounce-back game and that is because Atlanta is the third friendliest team against fantasy wide receivers and has allowed 30.3-FPPG to the position. Further, the Falcons are allowing opposing teams to rack up 312.5 passing yards on the road this season, also third worst.
According to Vegas’ books, the game-total dropped 1.5 points on the New Orleans’ side with Brees being out. The new total sits at 51u with New Orleans being -5 favorites and that is good for Thomas’s fantasy managers. If Vegas was worried about this game they would have dropped the game-total more than 1.5 points. And if Vegas isn’t worried, you should not be either. Start Thomas and hope for him to get back on track in Week 11.
Start – Terry McLaurin (WR, WAS) vs CIN
Washington will come into Week 11 as -1.5 favorites with the game-total sitting at 46.5u. The Bengals are giving up an average of 27.3-FPPG to the wide receiver position and that is the seventh-highest clip in the league. Just last week this same Bengals team accomplished a rare feat and allowed three WR1 performances from the same week: Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. This comes as no surprise since Cincinnati is allowing 290.7 passing yards against them over their previous three games.
McLaurin should be considered a safe, high-floor player as he has garnered an average of nine targets over his last three games. For the entire season, he has funneled 28-percent of the teams’ target-share. Additionally, McLaurin has also scored a touchdown in two of the last three weeks. It also really helps that Alex Smith has seen passing success in his first games back under center, which clearly benefits McLaurin.
McLaurin looks like one of the top plays at the wide receiver position in Week 11. Start him up and let him dominate your fantasy opponent.
Sit – Jerry Jeudy (WR, DEN) vs MIA
Jeudy is going to be extremely tough to rely on given both the matchup and the status of his quarterback. Currently, Drew Lock has been listed as day-to-day and he could easily miss this game. To tag onto that, the surging Miami defense will come into town and they are running with some recent success against fantasy wide receivers. In Week 9 they held DeAndre Hopkins to three receptions for thirty yards and in Week 10, they held Keenan Allen to three receptions for thirty-nine yards but did surrender a touchdown.
Despite having 22 targets over his last three games, Jeudy will have a high likelihood of struggling against the Dolphins. Denver always wants to establish their run-game which is how you want to attack Miami’s defense anyway. If they are successful with their run-game, then it easily could limit Jeudy even further.
There are multiple scenarios where it does not look promising for Jerry Jeudy. Go ahead and leave him on your bench in Week 11 and look for healthier options.
Start-Sit Week 11 — Tight End
Start – Austin Hooper (TE, CLE) vs PHI
This game projects well for Hooper because it features two coaches who like to slow the game down and prefer to run-first. Hooper fits into this because tight ends thrive in slow-paced games rather than fast-paced. Carson Wentz also turns the ball over a lot and with Cleveland’s defense, who boasts a 33-percent pressure rate and a 19-percent sack conversion rate according to PFF, that could easily setup the Browns with short field position and easy touchdowns.
In Week 10 Hooper received two targets which is no surprise given the weather conditions. Prior to his injury Hooper was receiving more and more targets. Between Weeks 4 – 6, Hooper averaged just under six targets per game. This bodes well for Hooper because the Eagles allow an average of 9.5-FPPG to the tight end position which is the seventh highest in the NFL. Part of the reasoning for this is likely due to Darius Slay shadowing the best opposing receiver, which can sometimes force passes over the middle of the field.
Hooper is a tight end that is involved and targeted. Take Week 10 as an exception and start Hooper in your tight end spot for Week 11.
Start – Taysom Hill (QB/TE, NO) vs ATL
In Week 10 quarterback Drew Brees messed up a few ribs and has been ruled out for Week 11 and possibly longer. While Hill will not serve as the primary quarterback, he is already featured in the red zone packages that Sean Peyton deploys and he will likely get additional opportunities. It is not every day that you get a player with dual eligibility in fantasy and that is exactly what Hill presents to his fantasy stakeholders.
In most leagues Hill will be featured as a QB/TE, which means you can either play him in the quarterback spot, tight end spot or a flex spot. Of course, you should only be playing Hill in the tight end spot on your roster, but he instantly becomes a player you can start. In this tight end landscape if you can get a player that can: A. score a touchdown B. catch passes C. run the ball and D. possibly log passing yards, then you might have stumbled upon a unicorn. It is totally possible that Hill does practically nothing with his increased usage. But we both know that you are tired of plugging in a tight end, only to get you three points; so what are you going to lose by rolling the dice on Hill?
Hill’s playability stems more from the lack of tight end options, rather than his floor-ceiling combo. You should view him as a player who could get you two points but has the upside to get you 10-to-14 points. In other words, he is a typical tight end with the chance to secure opportunities through the ground, air, and by catching passes. Start him up and see what you could unlock for your fantasy team.
Sit – Noah Fant (TE, DEN) vs MIA
The worry for Noah Fant’s production has been in the back of his fantasy managers’ mind over the last several weeks. Fant has finished with less than 8.2 fantasy points in every game since Week 3. While the targets have been there, the hookup has not and that could be more of the same against the Dolphins.
Miami is suppressing opposing fantasy tight ends and have only allowed 5.7-FPPG to the position. This becomes even more worrisome when quarterback Drew Lock is day-to-day and could miss the game against Miami. Any backup quarterback situation against the Dolphins is instantly something you should run away from.
Fant should be a player to bench in Week 11. Sure – he could be all you have at the tight end position and if that is the case then you should run with Fant over a waiver option. If you have another solid choice then you should trust that over Fant in Week 11.